VILLUPURAM SATURDAY FEBRUARY 06, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 CITY EDITION PFIZER WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY USE PERMIT The US company was the ﬁrst drugmaker to apply for emergency use authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in India on Dec 5, 2020 EXPERTS COMMITTEE DENIED NOD: REPORTS PANEL FLAGS SERIOUS ADVERSE EVENTS The move comes after an expert panel of India’s drugs regulatory authority reportedly recommended against granting approval to the firm at this stage. On February 3, the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had taken up Pfizer’s application for its Covid-19 vaccine that it has developed with Germany’s BioNTech ■ The committee in its meeting on Wednesday noted incidents of palsy, anaphylaxis and other serious adverse events after the vaccine’s approvals in some other countries ■ The panel was also worried that Pfizer had not spelt out a plan to generate safety/ immunogenicity data for the Indian population 95% PFIZER VACCINE’S EFFICACY AGAINST 62% OF COVISHIELD MANUFACTURED BY SII CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI RBI allows retail investors direct access to G-Secs Decision will help Centre meet its market borrowing target in the next financial year EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi IN a game-changer move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday said it would allow retail investors to buy government bonds directly from it. Currently, retail investors can only buy gilt or government issued bonds through a platform on the National Stock Exchange. However, this is not very popular. The RBI platform for G-Secs is likely to be called Retail Direct, though its details haven’t been shared. Current yield on a 10-year government bond is 6.126%. Bonds with shorter tenor yield less as interest. “Very few countries like the US and Brazil allow this. In Asia, we are the first country to do it,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das told reporters on Friday after the monetary policy meeting. The move to attract retail investors to the gilt market will help the government meet its market borrowing target of `12 lakh crore. Analysts said the reason why RBI is opening up a direct gilt trading window for small buyers is to widen the market for government bonds and to keep the interest rate paid by the government low. “While a promising move, a lot will depend on the platform and parallel investment oppor- tunities available,” said Nimish Shah, chief investment officer, Waterfield Advisors. Meanwhile, RBI’s six-member monetary policy committee did not spring any surprises on Friday as key policy rates were kept unchanged. Repo and reverse repo rates currently stand at record low levels of 4% and 3.35%, respectively . Among others, the first monetary policy announcement after the Union Budget 2021-22 had a few key elements: restoration of the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 4% in a gradual manner. CRR is the share a bank’s total deposits that is parked with RBI. Banks don’t earn interest on this amount. RBI also said it estim at e s I n d i a ’s G D P growth at 10.5% in FY22, with an optimistic outlook on economic recovery Rural de. mand is likely to be resilient on good agricultural prospects while urban demand and demand for contact intensive services is expected to strengthen with fall in Covid-cases and mass-vaccination drive. Consumer confidence is likely to remain upbeat as demand has moved beyond the ‘pent-up’ phase to actual demand. The central banks said inflation has returned within its ‘tolerance band’, revising inflation at 5.2% for Q4FY21 from 5.8% earlier). RAJAN FIAT CAN TORPEDO THE BUDGET AND ECONOMY If Raghuram Rajan’s 2016 formula on NPAs is reapplied, it could devastate the economy and set the Budget off-track, warns S Gurumurthy | P7 Relief for standup comedian Faruqui as SC bench grants bail E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui who was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Hindus during a show. “The petitioner (Faruqui) is released on ad-interim bail on conditions to the satisfaction of the trial court,” a bench headed by Justices R F Nariman ordered. While issuing notice to the Madhya Pradesh government on Faruqui’s plea, it also stayed a warrant for production of the comedian in Uttar Pradesh in another case. The bench granted interim bail to the comedian after it was pointed out that procedure under Section 41 of CrPC and the law laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to arrest weren’t followed. On behalf of the comedian, advocate Saurabh Kirpal termed it a case of victimisation and said the allegations made in the FIR were vague. He argued that a person cannot be arrested unless there is a magistrate’s order or a warrant, which is stated in Section 41 of the criminal code, and the law laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to arrest weren’t followed. “Do you say that Section 41 CrPC was not followed as per our 2014 judgment,” the bench asked his lawyer. Kirpal said it wasn’t and his client was being harassed. Faruqui was arrested on January 1 by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Indore. On January 28, the PM High Court dismissed the bail pleas of Faruqui and fellow comedian Nalin Yadav. The HC said, “every right was coupled with duty . Liberty of an individual has to be balanced with his duties and obligations towards his fellow citizens.” ‘Amma’ of all welfare schemes: EPS waives `12,110-cr worth farm loans EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai CM Edappadi K Palaniswami announcing the loan waiver in the Assembly on Friday CM: CASES AGAINST JALLIKATTU PROTESTORS TO BE WITHDRAWN Chennai: The ruling AIADMK has decided to take the bull by its horns ahead of the Assembly polls. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that his government would withdraw the cases filed during the Jallikattu agitations that took place in various parts of the State in 2017. All cases, except those filed over “undesirable incidents” such as assault on policemen and arson, would be withdrawn after consultations with legal experts, the CM said | P4 IN a huge relief for cashstrapped farmers, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that crop loans to the tune of `12,110 crore, availed by as many as 16.43 lakh farmers through cooperative banks, would be waived. After a year of the pandemic, the farmers were subsequently hit hard by two cyclones — Nivar and Burevi — and the non-seasonal rains in January . Palaniswami, making the announcement under Rule 110 during the zero hour in the State Assembly, assured that the crop loan waiver would be enforced immediately by issuing a Government Order (GO) and the financial allocation for the same would be made in the Interim Budget for 2021-22. “This announcement has facilitated farmers in continuing cultivation works without any difficulty in the forthcoming year,” the Chief Minister said. Recalling the DMK’s promise, made during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, that they would waive off farmer loans, Palaniswami said that they had forgotten that promise after winning seats. “Even during the 2006 Assembly elections, the DMK promised to provide two acres of lands each to landless farmers, but they could not fulfil that, he said. “This has been their routine in every election. However, the people know very well that the AIADMK always walks the talk, and fulfils election promises without fail,” added Palaniswami. CONTINUED ON: P4 Chakka jam today outside Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chandigarh/Jaipur/Lucknow/New Delhi WITH the government on Friday strongly defending the farm laws in Rajya Sabha despite protests against them gathering momentum, farmers unions said that the chakka jam planned for Saturday will not take place in UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi, but will cover other parts of the country, including southern states. While agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the offer to amend the laws should not be viewed as if they had any flaws, the Opposition demanded that they be repealed and fresh ones brought after consultations. At the protest site, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) announced their action plan on the chakka jam following a meeting between Balbir Singh Rajewal and Rakesh Tikait. “As sugarcane harvesting is on in UP and Uttarakhand, farmers will be busy The SKM has de. cided that farmers in these two EXPRESS READ 4G services all set to be restored in entire J&K Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday announced restoration of high-speed mobile internet services (4G) in the entire Union territory, almost 18 months after they were snapped H-1B lottery system to continue for now: Biden Washington: The Joe Biden administration has said it is delaying the H-1B policy of the Trump administration on allocation of the popular foreign work visas by continuing with the lottery system till Dec 31 | P11 states will not resort to chakka jam and will submit memos to the deputy commissioners. Delhi is also kept away from tomorrow’s stir, though it will cover the rest of the country ,” said Tikait and Rajewal. Tikait welcomed the support from international artistes and activists, including Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, but admitted he didn’t know them. The SKM’ said only national and state highways are to be jammed from 12 noon to 3 pm. The farmer leaders appealed to Farmers wave the Indian flag during the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district on Friday | PTI keep it peaceful. Sources said farmer unions fear angry outbursts in UP’s Pilibhit belt as the kisans there are upset over the deaths of some of their comrades. “That’s why the blockade has been called off in these areas,” said a source. Two mahapanchayats, one each in Rajasthan’s Dausa and Shamli in western UP, drew massive crowds. While Dausa is Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s pocket burough, the one in Shamili was organised by SP and RLD. ‘EXTREMITIES INCITE HATRED’ Influencers must be cautious while exercising their right to free speech: Madras High Court EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai IN the name of our religious beliefs, we, as a society are fall, ing into the hands of misconceptions and extremities, the Madras High Court observed on Friday “These extremities . have always known to incite hatred, violence, bloodshed and bitterness across history ,” it said, while hearing a case filed against an evangelist for his alleged “derogatory statements” against Hinduism. The court held that persons capable of influencing large sections of the society, driven by religious sentiments, must be extremely cautious in exercising rights of expression or religion. “It is the fundamental duty of every citizen to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture,” the court said. Mohan C Lazarus, an evangelist and founder of Jesus Redeems, was accused of making derogatory statements while addressing a gathering in 2016. Multiple FIRs were filed against him after a video of his s p e e ch we n t v i r a l , prompting Lazarus to approach the court seeking to quash the FIRs. When the plea was taken up for a final hearing on Friday Justice N Anand , Venkatesh cited the Sermon on the Mount and said, “The words of Jesus Christ clearly reveals that the religion or its ideals do not intend to incite its followers to judge or demean another religion for its own growth and propagation.” Senior counsel, Issac Mohanlal, filed an affidavit on behalf of Lazarus tendering an unconditional apology He also as. sured that such an instance will not happen in the future.
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